Can anyone please tell me what "1.º Ciclo do Ensino Superior" means from this quoted text?

e concluído os seus estudos ao nível secundário ou do 1.º Ciclo do Ensino Superior

Are Masters-degree studies also considered "1.º Ciclo do Ensino Superior" or just Bachelor-degree studies?

e concluído os seus estudos ao nível secundário ou do 1.º Ciclo do Ensino Superior

1 Answer 1


The "first cycle" is an European-standard designation within the Bologna Process, and in Portugal it will mean a Bachelor's degree.

According to Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

The basic framework is three cycles of higher-education qualifications. The framework[12] adopted by the ministers at their meeting in Bergen in 2005 defines the qualifications in terms of learning outcomes: statements of what students know and can do on completing their degrees. In describing the cycles, the framework uses the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS):

  • First cycle: typically 180–240 ECTS credits (a minimum of 60 credits per academic year), usually awarding a bachelor's degree. (...)
  • Second cycle: typically 90–120 ECTS credits (a minimum of 60 ECTS per academic year), usually awarding a master's degree
  • Third cycle (doctoral degree): There is no concrete ECTS range, since the disciplines vary in length and comprehensiveness.

Here's an interesting page (in Portuguese) from the University of Coimbra, discussing the Bologna change within the Science and Technology Faculty of the University of Coimbra:


It highlights the changes in nomenclature and meaning within the Portuguese educational framework: that "licenciatura" (Bachelor's degree) and masters mean different things before and after the Bologna process, etc.

  • The problem is that no one talks of cycles in English: undergraduate course of study leading to a Bachelor's Degree. Unless of course, you are using Euro-speak.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 19:32
  • 1
    @Lambie , which problem? The Bologna Process being an European initiative, what else could I use but Euro-speak? :) "Cycle" is the official name for it - see for example the wording in a Council of Europe document explaining this process: "Furthermore, it is necessary to go beyond the focus on two main cycles and the third cycle - doctoral studies - should be included in the Bologna process"
    – ANeves
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 23:32
  • 1
    It depends where the document will be used. Personally, in NA English, I would never ever use the word cycle.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:29
  • 2
    @Lambie I understand your cautionary advice against using "cycle" when talking about North-American education systems, but isn't that completely unrelated to this question?
    – ANeves
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 13:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.